The Przewalski’s gazelle (Procapra przewalskii) is endemic to China and the total current population of the species is only about several hundred. In order to understand the genetic structure and diversity of the Przewalski’s gazelle in China for the purpose of guiding conservation initiatives, we examined the genetic variability and differentiation based on microsatellite loci, using noninvasive genetic sampling. 188 Przewalski’s gazelle scats from six populations around Qinghai Lake (Tianjun, Haergai, Bird Island, Hudong-Ketu, Sand Island and Yuanzhe) were collected, and 128 individuals were identified and 94 alleles were detected at the 12 loci surveyed. The results showed that the expected heterozygosity and polymorphism information content is over 0.79 and 0.75, respectively. The AMOVA results showed that 5% of all observed diversity was due to difference between the populations and 95% was caused by genetic variance within population. According to the genetic similarity and geographical closeness, we suggested that six populations should be managed as three separate conservation units and habitat corridors should be built to link the Yuanzhe, Hudong-Ketu, Haergai and Sand Island populations.
Key words: Habitat fragment, genetic diversity, noninvasive genetics, Przewalski’s gazelle, Procapra przewalskii.